Procol Harum

the Pale

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Henry Spinetti

in a brief, brief chat

Henry, you've gained lots of Procol Harum fans since you played with the band at the Barbican.

Well it's nice to know I've gained some Procol fans: thanks very much!

If you've got a moment it would be nice to know why we hear you on only one track of The Prodigal Stranger?

Well that all came about as the result of some sessions that Gary asked me to do, some demos. I forget what the studio was, nothing plush, but Matthew was working the board and he's very professional so we got a good sound. I think it was probably me and Dave [Bronze] overdubbing something that Gary and Mathew had already worked on; but I can't remember exactly. It might have been Gary on his own, or it might have been the pair of them. (see here too: search for 'Spinetti')

The Truth Won't Fade Away ... they must have liked the way it turned out, and they fancied to put it on the Procol LP: of course I didn't know anything about that project, Gary had just rung me up and asked me to come into the studio and play on a few tracks. I can't remember what the other tracks were ... I don't think there was any suggestion that any of this was going to be Procol material at that stage.

Is that the only Procol studio work you've been involved in?

I played on Lead me to the Water and Echoes in the Night, as you know, but of course those were Gary's solo projects. We did a Procol radio show in Denmark in 1996.

You don't know why Mark Brzezicki and not you went on to make the Prodigal album?

Well either the answer is, 'Because I wasn't asked', or because Procol thought Mark was the man for the job.

Would you have liked to have done more?

Sure, I would have liked to. I like working with Gary and Matthew: they're great musicians and nice people to work with. But I really enjoyed what I did do: and I was treated very fairly, paid for the demos and again when it went on the album.

And have you got a favourite Procol Harum song to play live?

I like A Salty Dog very much. BJ was just incredible on that. As on so many things. A great talent.

Did you know him?

I met him, when I was with Eric in America, but I didn't know him. We probably met twice altogether.

And when you play with Procol Harum, are you aware of him, trying to sound like him, not sound like him, or what?

Yes, I am aware of BJ, because when I hear Procol songs I am aware of his drumming, and how different it was, as he was quite unique. For myself ... I can't reproduce BJ's style ... who can? ... but I try not to go too far away from it where possible. Some of those drum fills, they really are a part of the music: so if it's something I can do, I do, because they're part of the overall Procol sound.

Thanks, Henry

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